Minor League Update 4-6-12

I'd like to make this a daily feature here at Obstructed View, but have you looked at the minor league rosters? I'd suggest you avoid doing so if you haven't looked already. I'm not going to tell you about the game. Who cares if the Daytona Cubs won? I'm not even sure they do. Maybe there are a few fans who attend regularly who would like to see a win, but the rest of the world couldn't care less. What's important about these games is how the players perform and even on a daily basis it doesn't much matter, but writing about the Chicago Cubs isn't a whole lot more fun than their minor league teams? Have you seen the Cubs roster? Again, don't look.

Iowa Cubs

This is the most interesting team this year and will be until Brett Jackson and/or Anthony Rizzo are called up to the big leagues. At that point they become just another team in the Cubs minor leagues barely worth paying attention to.

Both of them got off to strong starts last night. Jackson had 2 hits and a walk in 5 plate appearances while Rizzo was 2-4. They each added a stolen base too. The Iowa Cubs had 10 hits, but only Dave Sappelt's double was for extra bases. Tony Campana led off last night and he also had 2 hits. Not to be outdone by Jackson and Rizzo, Campana added a stolen base of his own. Campana also had a sac fly.

Josh Vitters took a walk. No, I wouldn't joke about this shit. He really did. He was 1-3 with a walk. Vitters was the Cubs top pick (3rd overall) back in 2007, but we sometimes forget how young he is. He won't turn 23 until mid August. While his minor league numbers haven't been all that good, he's still young and has played against older talent throughout his career. The bottom line with Vitters is that if he doesn't improve his plate discipline he's got little hope of sticking on MLB roster for too long. His walk rate is horrendous, but we've talked about that enough.

Only 2 I-Cubs went without hits last night: Welington Castillo was 0-2 last night (no walks or HBP) and Adrian Cardenas was 0-3. Castillo also added an error with a catcher's interference.

Randy Wells got the start and threw 6 innings and allowed only 2 hits. He walked 3 and struckout 2. The problem last night was that both hits were home runs. That's about what you get from you number 4 starter. It's just weird the Cubs have their number 4 pitching in Iowa.

Manny Corpas threw 2 scoreless innings. He allowed a hit, didn't walk anybody and did not record a strikeout.

Tennessee Smokies

Logan Watkins and Justin Bour each went 3-5 last night. Bour hit the only home run for the Smokies. James Adduci and Jae-Hoon Ha each had 2 hits.

Nicholas Struck had a really good outing. He threw 6 innings, allowed 4 hits and a run while walking just 1 and striking out 10. Struck made 11 starts and 12 appearances for the Iowa Cubs at the end of the season last year, but the Cubs opted to send him back to Tennessee to start the year. Between 3 levels last season (Daytona, Tennessee, Iowa), Struck threw 147.1 innings, but allowed a lot of hits. He allowed 173 of them and walked 44.

I became interested in Struck back in 2010. That season he allowed only 108 hits in 128 innings. He struckout 96 so he's not a strikeout pitcher, but last year I lost interest. I'm sure part of the reason he allowed so many hits is nothing more than bad luck, but he just doesn't strike out enough batters. He's only 22 and based on the Cubs recent starting pitching acquisitions I'm not sure he's not better than some they have gone after, but he's more than likely not going to be all that good. He does have good command. He walked 44 last in year in those 147.1 innings.

Kevin Rhoderick relieved struck and allowed a hit over 2 innings while striking out 2. Rhoderick is an intriguing relief prospect. He was drafted in the 9th round in 2010, but didn't play professionally until last year. Between Daytona and Tennesse he threw 71.1 innings, walked 43 and struckout 77. Most of those innings were at the higher level and while he appears to have issues throwing strikes, he does get plenty of strikeouts. Most impressive is that he was ridiculously tough to hit last year. In those 71.1 innings he allowed just 45 of them.

That's more than a large enough sample to reach conclusions! In all seriousness though, we need to see how he performs beyond those innings. He needs to reduce his walks while keeping his strikeouts up there where they currently are. He's tough to hit so he could probably afford to throw a few more in the zone. A strong start from him and we could see him in Chicago by July.

Daytona Cubs

Matt Szczur led off and was 1-5 with an RBI. Rubi Silva had 3 hits.

Along with Dave Sappelt the Cubs also acquired Ronald Torreyes when they traded Sean Marshall to the Reds. Torreyes had 2 hits last night for Daytona. He's also an interesting prospect. He's not going to walk all that much, but he's going to walk about as often as he strikes out. He's hit for a very high average in the minor leagues, but doesn't appear to have great speed. He's definitely not below average and maybe he's just not very good at stealing bases. He did hit 12 triples in 2010, but 10 of them were in Venezuela. Last year he had 5 in about 300 plate appearances. He's stolen 37 bases in 2 years, but has been thrown out 24 times. He'll fit right in with the rest of the Cubs in Chicago. He's also just 19. He has a lot of progression ahead of him so it's difficult to know what to expect. He is only 5'9" and weighs just 140 pounds. Who knows, maybe an offseason transformation like Darwin Barney can turn him into a guy hitting 40 home runs.

Matt Loosen started for the D-Cubs, but lasted only .1 innings. Before he could get the second out he had allowed a hit and walked 4. He was just doing his best Kerry Wood impression. AJ Morris threw an inning and allowed a hit and an unearned run. Morris was one of the guys the Cubs acquired for Tom Gorzelanny, but Morris missed all of the 2011 season so this was his first outing as a Cub. Morris had primarily been a starter in the Nationals organization so I'm the bullpen test is alive and well.

Peoria Chiefs

Michael Jensen, last year's 26th round pick, started for the Chiefs and he allowed just 2 hits in 5 innings and no runs. He walked 1 and struckout 2.

Paul Holliman was drafted in the 19th round last year and began his first full season league by going 0-2 with 2 strikeouts a walk. That's something Holliman will do a lot. Walk and strikeout. He walked in 16.3% of his plate appearances last year. He struckout in 35% of them. He hit 17 home runs (5.7% of his PA). 57% of his 300 plate appearances last season resulted in a walk, strikeout or home run. Add in the 4 HBP and you have 58.3%.

As much as I love these 3 true outcome players, that's an absurd strikeout rate at a short-season league for someone who went to college. That's a ridiculous strikeout rate for someone fresh out of high school. I normally don't care too much about strikeout rate. Last year Holliman, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you can't play at the MLB level striking out that much. Especially when you consider it's only likely to get higher as he moves up the system.

Zeke DeVoss was 1-5 with 3 strikeouts. He was also drafted last year (3rd round). He also takes a lot of walks. He walked in nearly 20% of his 168 plate appearances at Boise last season. He struckout in 16.7% of them. Last year he hit .309/.449/.383. I don't know that I've ever seen an OBP almost 70 points higher than SLG. DeVoss has no power and he had a .390 BABIP last year so that's going to come down considerably.